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Early Voting Turnout Is Mixed For Dallas, Tarrant Counties

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Early voting numbers are in, and it’s a mixed bag for Dallas and Tarrant Counties. In Dallas County, it appears voters are staying home. 

"Early voting numbers are significantly down," said Toni Pippins-Poole, an elections administrator for Dallas County.  "We only had about 30,000 voters who voted in the countywide races." 

For a little perspective, there are more than 1 million registered voters in the county. This early voting return is almost half of what it was five years ago.

“We had been voting about 10-11 percent, however with this year’s early voting numbers, it looks like we’re going to be more around 6 percent,” Pippins-Poole said.

Election Day in North Texas is Saturday. Early voting wrapped up earlier this week.

Voter apathy is one reason for the low numbers, but Pippins-Poole also says campaigns aren’t getting the word out there.

Tarrant County, however, is seeing a boost in early voter turnout.

A little less than 3 percent took advantage of early voting last year. This year? It’s almost 5 percent countywide.

Tarrant County Elections Coordinator Frank Phillips says turnout was up in the cities that had propositions on the ballot. For example, Colleyville saw an early voter turnout of 18.5 percent, partially due to a proposition there about Glade Road.

Both Pippins-Poole and Phillips said early voting numbers tend to be a good indicator of how Election Day will go. About 50 percent of voters will typically cast their ballots during the early voting period, while the rest wait until the day of the election. 

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and KERANews.org. She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.